It is some time since I wrote a post exclusively in relation to Education in Northern Ireland.
Although nothing is ‘cast in stone,’ it is unlikely that a future Northern Ireland Centre Right party will depart from the current line, held by the Conservatives in Northern Ireland, that the Grammar School system should be preserved, whilst looking at every possible way to improve the performance of non-grammar schools.
Thus, for the first time, a political home would be made available for those from the Nationalist/Republican communities (about 37% of them according to a survey made during the tenure of Martin McGuinness) who support the Grammar School system and academic selection.
Caitriona Ruane is probably the most controversial figure in the Northern Ireland Executive. So much has already been written about the quality of her service. For the sake of clarity, this has nothing to do with her ability to play tennis!
Unlike other areas of politics, the main ideology, which drives Sinn Fein’s policy on Education, is their left-wing socialist ideology. However, every now and again, the unacceptable face of sectarianism in Sinn Fein’s republicanism rears its ugly head in the decision-making of Caitriona Ruane.
Anything which might contribute to breaking down sectarianism is a threat to Sinn Fein’s longer-term survival. Not surprisingly then, the Education Minister, presumably using the need for spending cuts as a “fig leaf,” decided to cut her department’s community relations budget by an estimated 70%, as reported by Mark Davenport.